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Codex Review RPG Codex Review: Vendetta - Curse of Raven's Cry

Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by Infinitron, Jul 4, 2021.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    RPG Wokedex Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Tags: Reality Pump Studios; Vendetta - Curse of Raven's Cry

    During the dark age of popamole, a German publisher by the name of TopWare Interactive and its Poland-based in-house development studio Reality Pump Studios managed to gain some renown for producing the Two Worlds games, a series of generic fantasy Oblivion clones. With the money earned making those, TopWare set out to create a title that seemed significantly more ambitious, a pirate action-RPG called Raven's Cry. First announced in 2011, the original developer of Raven's Cry was a now-defunct Finnish studio called Octane Games, a subsidiary of mobile developer Nitro Games. Apparently things did not go well there and in 2013 development was transferred to Reality Pump, who finally released the game in a disastrously unfinished state in early 2015. Faced with a predictably negative reception, Reality Pump would rerelease the game as Vendetta - Curse of Raven's Cry in late 2015 and continued to update it throughout 2017, but the damage had been done and it seemed doomed to be forgotten. Which it was, until its recent rediscovery by the esteemed Lord_Potato, our resident expert on obscure and forgotten RPGs. Is the updated and patched Raven's Cry an underrated gem? According to Lord_Potato, the answer is a qualified yes. The game's ship management and combat systems are certainly more extensive than I expected:

    Once you secure your first boat (and there are at least two ways to achieve that – one that makes you dependent on a certain faction and another that allows you to stay independent for a while longer) you can try your luck on the high seas. This is where the game truly shines: it offers true ship porn and lets you have lots of fun. You start with the most basic vessel: a schooner. It’s fast, agile, and can be crewed by a few dozen men. It allows travel between islands but has a weak hull, limited room for cargo, and only a few cannons. You will not do a lot of pirating with this one. Thankfully, when confronted by enemies at sea, the schooner can easily outrun them. However, you’ll soon want to find something larger and more dangerous. There are six types of vessels in Vendetta, ranging from small galleons and maneuverable frigates all the way to powerful man-o-wars and ships of the line. Each ship type has a number of stats: the hull and sails, speed, maneuverability, maximum crew, and cannons. These stats can be improved thanks to an upgrade tree with numerous enhancements, which are usually acquired at the expense of cargo space. Additional upgrades can be unlocked as a reward for quests for certain individuals and factions. The only limitation is that you can only have one ship. When you purchase a new one, the old one automatically gets sold (although you do get back some of the money you invested into upgrading it).

    In order for a vessel to sail, it requires a crew – both regular sailors and officers. The former can be recruited in any settlement. The latter must be tracked down in various places ranging from taverns to jails. Some will join the crew for cash, others after completing certain quests. There are first officers, boatswains, gun masters, navigators, doctors, and carpenters. Officers come with numerous advantages: they can improve the aim of cannons and shorten reload times, conduct repairs without having to stop at a port, heal the wounded, or improve crew discipline which increases morale and lowers salary costs. However, some officers can also decrease your reputation or cause dissatisfaction among the crew. You can check their stats and biographies in the crew section of the menu. Officers add some character to your crew and allow for a bit of min-maxing. Your people also require food rations and salaries. The larger the crew, the more expensive each sea voyage becomes. Add to that the cost of ammunition and repairs and you get quite a serious list of expenditures.

    How do you earn enough money to satisfy all these needs? There is a certain amount of gold to be claimed by completing quests and plundering ancient temples. But the only stable and reliable source of income is sea trade. You have your cargo hold, so use it! There are eleven categories of products that can be bought and sold, ranging from tobacco, rum and cannabis to ebony, sugar and silk. Each civilized island produces certain products and requires others. The rules of supply and demand will determine your trade routes throughout the Caribbean. However, keep in mind that the system is dynamic. If you sell too much rum to an island that wants it, you will flood the market and the prices will drop. Sometimes if you have full cargo of a certain product, it’s better to sell it in several colonies rather than just one in order to receive the best prices. If you try to buy too much of a certain product, its price will increase due to increased demand and lower supply. The system forces you to think and consider your options. When you have a quest objective on the other side of the map, you will most likely plan your journey so that you earn as much as possible before reaching your destination.

    Of course, this is a pirate game, so you don’t have to pay for stuff: plundering ships on the high seas is also an attractive option. When sailing from one island to another, various random encounters will be offered to you – other ships or flotillas which will appear nearby – and you can choose to try your luck and engage them. Sometimes Christopher’s ship will be attacked by enemy vessels and then battle becomes inevitable, although it is possible to run away from tough fights if the wind is favourable and Raven’s vessel is fast enough. Sea battles are mandatory during certain quests (including the main quest), so it’s best to be prepared and keep a cargo hold with every possible type of ammunition.

    Vendetta’s sea battles require some training and getting used to, but they’re even more enjoyable than their land-based counterparts. You maneuver your ship (taking into consideration the direction and strength of the wind), select an ammunition type and aim your cannons. By changing the angle by which the cannons are raised, you determine how far the cannonballs will fly. The game offers no visual aid to help you target enemy ships. You simply choose an angle, fire your cannons, evaluate the result and then adjust for better accuracy. Keep in mind however that ships are constantly on the move and the waves hitting them can make it more difficult to aim. Sometimes there are also weather impediments, such as a deep fog that limits visibility. This requires you to fire into the mist and look for explosions to see if the cannonballs hit.

    Each ship has three HP bars – hull, sails, and crew. Accordingly, there are three types of ammo that target these bars – cannonballs which are best used against hulls (although they can destroy sails too), grapeshot which is used for killing crewmen, and chain shot which is the most effective at destroying sails. If the hull is breached, the ship simply sinks and you cannot plunder it. When sails and masts are destroyed, it is no longer able to maneuver, but may still fire when other ships pass by. If the crew is eliminated, the vessel will stop sailing and firing and basically become a ghost ship.

    When nearby foes are defeated and only one enemy ship remains afloat, you may try to board it. It is a risky (an unsuccessful boarding means game over) but rewarding business. The surviving crew members will put up a fight and then the boarding mini-game begins. Surprisingly, unlike regular land and sea battles, it is turn-based. Christopher Raven does not personally board the enemy vessel but commands his men from afar. The choice is between engaging in melee combat and firing your cannons at point-blank range. After each turn the result is calculated (losses to both crews and destruction of both vessels). You then evaluate the situation and make another decision. Be careful – barraging an opponent’s hull at point blank might sink his ship, which means you won't get your hands on his precious cargo. If your foe has fewer men, a melee attack is usually the better course of action. After the enemy crew is butchered, you can decide what to plunder from the captured vessel (the size of your cargo hold is a limitation here). And when you’re done, you get to make one final decision whether to leave the ghost ship be or set it on fire.

    Vendetta allows not just small sea duels but also larger clashes between several units or even flotillas from different factions. The largest battle I participated in during my playthrough pitched more than twenty vessels from England, France, and Spain against each other. Surviving such battles requires tactical thinking, careful positioning, and choosing one’s targets wisely. Positioning your ship between two enemies means trouble – your hull will be barraged from both sides with catastrophic results. You can try to use hostile ships to your advantage in a similar way by hiding from the volleys of more powerful foes behind them. All in all, Vendetta’s sea combat system can produce some very memorable and impressive fights. It may seem difficult and unnecessarily complicated at first, but once you understand and master it, you’ll have a great time pirating your way through the Caribbean.​

    Read the full article: RPG Codex Review: Vendetta - Curse of Raven's Cry
     
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  2. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

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    Strap Yourselves In Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Too bad this game is pretty much abandoned. Bit of bugfixing would do it a world of good.
     
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  3. Finitron Educated

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    I remember this!
     
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  4. Deuce Traveler Prestigious Gentleman 2012 Newfag Patron

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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Congrats on another review, Lord_Potato. I'm not sure it is truly a CRPG, but I will give the review credit; you made me somewhat interested in a game I most likely would have quickly passed on. That counts for something.
     
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  5. Tacgnol Shitlord Patron

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    I seem to remember the drama surrounding this game overshadowed the game itself.

    Fake reviews, lawsuits and all sorts of shenanigans.
     
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  6. Burning Bridges Enviado de meu SM-G3502T usando Tapatalk

    Burning Bridges
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    Could they perhaps implement a gamma slider?

    It looks like being on Pluto, and my eyes are no CCDs that I can simply turn up 1000x
     
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  7. Lord_Potato Arcane

    Lord_Potato
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    They were fixing bugs and adding stuff for two years. The last update added lots of quests, alternative routes for main questlines, added some dialogues and cutscenes. Too bad they still left some bugs. None of them seem game-breaking though.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2021
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  8. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

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    Strap Yourselves In Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Debatable. My game crashes every time I look at my ship. And well, it's my ship, gotta look at it sooner or later.
     
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  9. Lord_Potato Arcane

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    Last edited: Jul 4, 2021
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  10. Lord_Potato Arcane

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    Ok, that's bad. Never encountered this problem. Does this happen with version 1.10?
     
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  11. Yaar Podshipnik Arcane Patron

    Yaar Podshipnik
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    Codex 2012 Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex Strap Yourselves In Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Codex USB, 2014 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Tried it just now. It CTD when I fired a second broadside on the TUTORIAL galleon. No thanks.

    EDIT:
    Good job on the review though, keep it up!
     
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  12. FEDSMOKER Lie Spider Patron

    FEDSMOKER
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    Insert Title Here Strap Yourselves In
    i really want to love this game but it doesn't play well with AMD video cards
     
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  13. Watser Arcane

    Watser
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    Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign
    Completed the game back in January this year (courtesy of Konjad), if you are into eurojank this should be right up your alley.

    The game is obviously way too ambitious compared to the budget, there are several different islands and areas to sail to, but unfortunately many of the cities and surrounding area is mostly empty. This is specially sad when looking at Santorio's Island which is an absolutely stunning location, but is only used twice in the main mission and you have no reason to return there unless you want to do some sea trading, which is not worth it tbh.
    Naval battles reminded me a lot of Sea Dogs (though it is a VERY long time since I played that last so it might not be an accurate comparison).

    Combat could've easily been an infurating experience but fortunately the pistols really steal the show. Enemies can even grab your hand as you fire your flintlock if you are standing too close, forcing you to fire into the ground. This is also fairly effective in making the pistol not the end-all-be-all to combat and making it more dynamic.

    Mainquest is trash and is twice as long as it should've been.

    One of the best areas of the game is Bridgetown, and is also one of the first towns you sail to. This place is alive. You have sailors singing shanties, an active market square with npcs bidding auction style, and an npc decrying the debauchery of drunkards, pirates and whores outside the local brothel. There are constantly new quests every time you sail back and it's such a joy to walk around in.

    All in all it's a great game for the first 15-20 hours and then it really starts to drag on.
     
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  14. sigard Learned

    sigard
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    Are they any hot chicks?
     
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  15. Lord_Potato Arcane

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    A bunch of prostitutes. And a hot nun. However the quality of female character models is quite dissapointing.
     
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  16. Kalin Unwanted Dumbfuck Zionist Agent

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    Just play Pirates! or Cutthroats don't bother with this abortion.
     
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  17. Rincewind Learned

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    Thank you Lord_Potato for drawing my attention upon this game. :salute: I 100% share your attitude towards AAA vs indie/small-studio games; I'd take a flawed gem over a polished turd any day. I impulse-purchased it based on your review, as I was looking for something to play during my next week off. I very much like the idea of the game being based on gritty historic realism rather than on some romanticised version of the pirate life. I'm quite perplexed how the reviewers don't get it what's it's about...
     
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  18. TripJack Prestigious Gentleman Hedonist

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    a true codexer then
     
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  19. JDR13 Magister

    JDR13
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    How long did it take you to finish?
     
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  20. Zboj Lamignat Arcane

    Zboj Lamignat
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    I have this game on my radar for some time already. How would you compare it to Risen 2-3? I've enjoyed R2-3 despite being fully aware they're rather shit so might get some fun out of this.
     
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  21. Watser Arcane

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    Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign
    Steam says 33 hours, but I also spent a lot more time sailing back and forth between the islands after each major storybeat to look for side content. Add a couple of hours of AFK time so a realistic time is probably ~25

    EDIT: I also tend to dick around a lot in these types of games looking for broken areas where you are obviously not meant to go. You can climb the highest mountain on the starting island which is pretty fun.
     
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  22. Lord_Potato Arcane

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    I played Vendetta directly after Risen 2 & 3, so I have quite a good comparison.

    Vendetta is a much better pirate game. In Risen 2&3 you actually rarely do any serious pirating. You don't actually attack and sink other ships, win and sell loot etc. The world is in ruins and there are almost no ships left, so you sail from one island to another, attacked mostly by sea monsters.

    Also Vendetta has much more interesting towns that actually look like human settlements, not just random three buildings standing next to each other in order to house several quest givers.

    Gunplay is much better. No stupid cooldowns. Atmosphere is much more dark and gritty.
     
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  23. Lord_Potato Arcane

    Lord_Potato
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    I spent 40 hours on a single campaign, completing every quest that did not glitch out on me. Plus, you can play after the ending of the main campaign - finishing everything you left unfinished and having fun with the ship you receive for your final mission, but don't really have to give back to its original owner.
     
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  24. cosmin haraga Novice

    cosmin haraga
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    wasted time I'll never get back
    avoid !
     
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  25. Drop Bear Novice

    Drop Bear
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    Lord_Potato would you say Vendetta is a better pirate game than Cyberpunk 2077 is a a cyberpunk game?
     
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